What would the lesser men who would bring her down have done: put migrants on sealed trains in their tens of thousands and send them – where, exactly?
It now the main issue blocking a negotiated agreement – thus risking a No Deal and potentially a harder Irish border. In short, it risks triggering the very thing it is supposed to avoid.
The German Chancellor was stronger then than she is now. And there’s no guarantee that any compromise she might push would work.
Merkel is threatened. Macron is outraged. Brussels is paralysed. And all three trends are taken by their opponents as signs that they are winning.
The German Chancellor faces a rebellion from her Bavarian allies on the question of immigration – and is pleading for more time before the EU summit.
Voters habitually opt for parties of the Right when times are tough, only to ditch them for the Left once there’s money to spare. But now populists seek to break the cycle.
Merkel has appalled her own followers by making sweeping concessions to the Social Democrats.
If both of the main parties remain locked together in an unpopular pact, it creates more space in which new challengers can grow.
Conventional German politics is still paralysed because being German is still almost impossibly difficult, and being European is pretty difficult, too.
The German consensus which placed no significant party to the right of the CDU, thus bolstering it as a governing force, is breaking down.
He discusses his new book, Hearts and Minds, in which he traces the change in Conservative ideas from Thatcher to Cameron and beyond.
The German Chancellor on the exit polls that show her set for a fourth term – but with Alternative für Deutschland winning 13 per cent of the vote.
Plus: Osborne’s regrets, vintage Heseltine – and, after Germany, to Brighton, for what is claimed to be the biggest conference Labour has ever held.
Cameron’s decision to leave the federalist, centre-right bloc was bewailed by Remainers. How do they feel about its call for a continent-wide ban on veils?
The rise of AfD poses a strategic challenge to the CDU: try to re-unite the right and lose voters to the left, or stick to Merkel’s guns and cede territory to an insurgent new force?